Washington, DC In the aftermath of the August 10-12 flooding in the District of Columbia, disaster officials remind homeowners, renters and business owners throughout the District that they may purchase flood insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Year in and year out, flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters in this country," said Tom Davies, federal coordinating officer. "But all too often, homeowners learn after the fact that protection against flood loss is not part of their normal insurance protection package."
Flood insurance can be purchased through your local insurance agent. The NFIP policy is sold through private insurance companies and is backed by the federal government.
"You can insure your home and all its contents against flooding for less than it costs to insure your car," said Peter G. LaPorte, District coordinating officer.
Important features of the National Flood Insurance Program are:Everyone can, and should, have flood insurance. Anyone can get flooded, and anyone can get flood insurance. More than 90 percent of all Presidentially-declared disasters include flooding.
Flood damage is not covered by homeowner's insurance policies. You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance. You can insure your home for up to $250,000 for the building and up to $100,000 for the contents.
Contents coverage is separate. It is not automatically included with building coverage. Ask your agent. Renters can insure their belongings, too.
Flood insurance pays even when no disaster is declared. Statistically, federal disaster declarations are issued in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. An NFIP policy will pay for flood damage whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration.
Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage.
There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective. You can purchase flood coverage at any time, but there is a 30-day waiting period after you have applied and paid the premium before the policy becomes effective.
For complete information, call the National Flood Insurance Program toll free at 1-800-720-1090. Homeowners, renters and business owners can call for the name of local agents who handle national flood insurance.